Sea hare (Credit Alison Mayor)
Majestic sea hares can be found mating within seagrass beds.
One of only a handful of locations of peacock’s tail seaweed.
Inshore around Alum Bay and the Needles, the seabed is predominantly chalk reefs with deep gullies; it’s rich in seaweeds. In Totland and Colwell Bays, the seabed is largely sandy and supports seagrass meadows, which in turn host breeding colonies oF sea hares – a type of marine slug.
This site contains the only record of the stalked jellyfish Lucernariopsis campanulata in this region. It is also one of only a handful of locations of peacock’s tail seaweed – a brown alga that prefers warm water and is thought to be restricted in this country to Devon, Dorset and the Isle of Wight.
This area is an important site for black-headed gulls, cormorants and other seabirds which come to forage for food.
This recommended Marine Conservation Zone is under consideration for the second tranche of MCZs.
Defra have indicated that this site is now under consideration for tranche two and will potentially be included in the formal consultation at the beginning of 2015. Defra will now working to verify the evidence base for this site and will be looking to engage with stakeholders on both a local and national level to refine information about the site. This site contains seagrass beds, which act as a nursery for juvenile fish and provide shelter for other species. They also provide an important food source for wintering waterfowl. This site has been identified as being at high risk of damage and degradation by Natural England and the Joint Nature Conservation Committee due to the presence of highly sensitive features within the site.
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Dive video of this site
Other nearby MCZs
The Needles recommended MCZ is located in the map below.
Contains UKHO Law of the Sea data. Crown copyright and database right and contains Ordnance Survey Data Crown copyright and database 2012